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Blue Drift

Blue Drift - Cobalt Coast - 2003 - Bugelfish Records

Blue Drift is an instrumental prog band related to The Morrigan -- two members have also been or still are members of The Morrigan, and The Morrigan’s Colin Masson provided the cover art for Blue Drift’s two CDs: Cobalt Coast (2003) and Mariner (2005). But there’s no folk here. The music on Cobalt Coast varies along a spectrum between Camel (structured, melodic) and Ozric Tentacles (spacey, jamming), while other influences and prog styles are present -- one song is closer to Bruford or the first UK album. Mariner is not a radical departure, but it is distinct from its predecessor, containing mostly high-energy symphonic prog, sometimes spacey, with a touch of fusion when the guitarist adopts an Allan Holdsworth tone. There are also subtle, gentler passages where the feel is not far from Genesis. These CDs are what instrumental prog should be, carefully-crafted melodic music with sufficient variety. Read the Progressor reviews of Cobalt Coast (http://www.progressor.net/review/blue_drift_2003.html) and the DPRP review of Mariner (http://www.dprp.net/reviews/200531.html#bluedrift) The Silhobbit review of Cobalt Coast, (http://www.silhobbit.com/mambo/content/view/529/111/) while not particularly useful, is the most entertaining read. These are the MALS label editions. © 2012 Kinesis http://www.kinesiscd.com/storeframe1.htm?british.htm

Prolusion. The English band Blue Drift consists of the Lodder brothers: John and Dave, the latter of whom was a member of The Morrigan from 1995 to 2002, and the permanent drummer for The Morrigan Arch. "Cobalt Coast" is the debut album by the trio. Synopsis. England, the fatherland of Progressive Rock, is presently poor in Prog talent as never before. So it's especially wonderful to hear a contemporary English band playing progressive music, which is top-notch in every respect. Blue Fish's "Cobalt Coast" is an amazing all-instrumental album and, what's central, this is a product of genuine inspiration. The music is both highly original and complex and is just filled with magic, which is typical only for true masterworks. Most of the tracks on the album feature arrangements that are for the most part, in the state of constant development and are completely unpredictable. Of course, the repetitiveness of themes, by which is explained the success of Neo Progressive for instance, makes music attractive already after the initial hearing of it. However, any profound Prog-lover knows that the constant development of musical events is like Ariadne's thread: catch it and follow it, and sooner or later, you will certainly reach a treasure. Generally speaking, it's impossible to reach any treasure without difficulty; and yet, due to the full-scale offensive of "mass culture" (via mass media), oversimplification has already become the norm, if not the rule, of life; and thus, the depersonalization of humanity grows by leaps and bounds. Back to the hero of this review, it needs to be said that there are two categories of compositions on "Cobalt Coast". The album's predominant stylistics is a classic (yet truly unique) Symphonic Art-Rock with pronounced elements of Prog-Metal and is presented on: The English Room, Freak Weather, Cape Canaveral, The Battle of Morton Ridge, and Spirit (3 to 7). However, the latter piece is also filled with flavors of music of the East, and the guitar solos sound here like those of Turkish Saz. Both of the first tracks on the album: Slingshot Round the Moon and Cobalt Coast, as well as the last track on it: Drift Glass (8), are about Symphonic Art-Rock with elements of Jazz-Fusion and the bits of Prog-Metal. I am familiar with Dave Lodder's work on The Morrigan's latest three albums, though there, Dave hadn't enough room to show all of his talents. While on "Cobalt Coast", he looks as one of the most profound composers and probably the most gifted multi-instrumentalist on today's progressive scene in England, and his solos on guitar are as virtuosi and tasteful as those on organ and synthesizers. Both of his band mates are also outstanding musicians and are truly masterful players of their chosen instruments. Conclusion. Indeed, it is presently very hard to create something really fresh and unique within the framework of Symphonic Progressive, and there are too little bands now that would be equal to the task to do it. In short, Blue Drift's "Cobalt Coast" is the album I've been really waiting for. This is an absolute masterpiece and is assuredly one of the ten best albums released in the UK in the new millennium. © VM: Agst 22, 2003 © http://www.progressor.net/review/blue_drift_2003.html

Mariner is the last of three-in-a-row instrumental Prog albums I have recently reviewed. Blue Drift hail from the UK and, unlike the Dutch Novox and USA’s Parallel Mind, are already on to album No. 2 (check out the review of their debut Cobalt Coast here). Unsurprisingly, they evince a stronger group identity than the other two bands, and eschewing histrionic displays of virtuosity, have assembled a strong set of carefully crafted instrumentals which lean more to the Neo side of things. Indeed, if you enjoy early Twelfth Night or The Lens (the pre IQ combo) you will be in the right frame of mind to appreciate this fine offering. There is also a rich seam of Jazz Fusion influences running through some of the tracks. John and Dave Lodder handle bass and guitar/keyboards respectively whilst Arch provides drums and percussion. The latter two named have also played with folk-proggers The Morrigan, whose multi talented (check out his superb Isle Of Eight CD) Colin Masson provides the tasteful artwork for this release. There are little or no folk influences here, though. The opening pair of tunes, Flight Of Doom and Nuclear Train, are both upbeat, energetic rock-based workouts. Flight... chugs along its unstoppable course like a runaway train, powered by the busy rhythm section whilst Dave Lodder alternates crashing power chords and searing guitar leads. Nuclear Train is more of the same, with knobs on! The pace is quickened and the tension heightened. The tightly structured piece is well thought out – like an ultra-modern rollercoaster, it grips you from the start and will leave you breathless and wanting more at the end. A much needed change of pace appears on the third track. Deep Space does exactly what it says on the tin – starting in sequencer driven Tangerine Dream mode- it effortlessly slides into a Shine On... Pink Floyd vibe for a languorous, meandering eight minute bliss out. Digging For Chance and Half Light see the band unleashing their Fusion chops. I particularly like Dave Lodder’s guitar tone here (on Half Light his leads resemble those of the mighty Alan Holdsworth, it’s hot stuff!). John Lodder proves to be a tasty (and tasteful) player too, and the brief Half Light manages to squeeze in a concise drum solo from Arch. These two tracks are solid fusion efforts which should not alienate the Neo crowd either. The concluding track clocks in at a mammoth 21 minutes and should have the traditional prog fans drooling. There are plenty of good, chunky guitar riffs, swirling synth solos and multiple tempo changes. There is a long section towards the end which sees the band recreating a similar mood to that of Camel’s instrumental opus The Snow Goose. It’s a laidback, mellow treat for fans of more subtle, soundscape-y stuff, or those in a nostalgic mood for the glory days of the mid 70’s. On a slightly negative note, some of the music on this CD (and particularly the last, longest track) seems designed for someone to come along and add vocals and lyrics to complete the picture. There is a slight air of something missing – the icing on the cake, perhaps. This was not something I felt when listening to the Novox or Parallel Mind discs. Blue Drift does give the impression that they really would like to have a front man out there leading the charge. Having said that, the music here is very enjoyable, and if they could find a good, robust vocalist, and continue to produce music of this calibre, they would really be onto something. The album does score highly by varying the style and tempo of the tunes, grouping them into pairs, for a nicely evolving, flowing album. As it stands, it’s a very nice album, with some fiery high spots, plenty of variety and great musicianship. Conclusion: 7 out of 10 © DAVE SISSONS © The Dutch Progressive Rock Page 1995-2011 http://www.dprp.net/reviews/200531.html#top

Summary: A progressive trio from the UK including Arch of The Morrigan. Cover art is by Colin Masson also of the Morrigan: The music: Slingshot Round The Moon opens with a Camel like instrumental section. Quite a bit of vintage sounding keyboards here, quite pacefull too. This is typically English symphonic rock, extended soloing and meandering with a strong role for the keyboards and an active drummer. The melodies are okay, but not melodies that stick. Next one up is the more moody title track. More tension is present on this one. Musically I hear similarities to Flamborough Head, but Blue Drift is instrumental. The guitar plays a more prominent role here, taking over the one from the keyboards which play an atmosphere building supporting role. Production is good, enabling one to hear all the instruments involved clearly. The Eighth Room is a noisy one with rambling guitar work, quite heavy as well. The melodies tend to the Arabic, and are repetitive with the drive lent by the drums. Strong instrumental work. The more jazzy continuation with hammond is a bit too loose. The opening of Freak Weather has elements of La Villa Strangiato. The continuation is a bit more moody, with stretched out guitar lines. In a way some of these parts can be likened to the heavier side of Colin Masson on his solo album. However, it is more obvious that a band is at work here, and the Oldfield link is not present. Blue Drift is more easily compared with the symphonic bands from the Netherlands on the Cyclops label. In the middle the drummer lets off a bit, but then the music takes to pacing again. The mood building works fine here, arrangement and melody fitting well together to evoke a certain impression, in this case we may assume of freak weather. Then we get a turn for La Villa Strangiato again, but not for long as the music slows down again to moody guitar work. Cape Canaveral is relatively short and an up-beat rock track. It features rhythm guitar and is certainly less symphonic than the other tracks. The (non-rhythm) guitar is more jazzrock oriented here. The Battle Of Morton Ridge is even shorter, a bombastic track with symphonic keys, a bit militaristic of sound. Again, the title is well chosen. The keys are a bit cheesy on this one, but that goes with the style of the song. Spirit is a long one. It opens with keyboards and some sitar like playing. Like one may expect in a track of over ten minutes, there is variation in mood and style throughout, this time by means of a long soft section in the middle, somewhat New Age like in outset, later when the guitar comes in again one may be reminded of Shine On You Crazy Diamond. The rock returns soon after, uplifting the song and making it a rather psychedelic affair with Arabic style melodies. Drift Glass is the closer, which is in the by now familiar vein. Although the large amount of acoustic guitar is maybe a bit different. Quite a relaxed track in its first three minutes, only later does the electric guitar set in (the acoustic one stays). Conclusion: Instrumental symphonic rock from the UK, this trio is well at home in the studios resulting in an album with nods to Camel, Floyd and psychedelic influences. However, in other places the current symphonic Cyclops band are also not far away, yielding a package with something for everybody. © Jurriaan Hage © http://www.staff.science.uu.nl/~hage0101/reviews/cobaltcoast.html [All tracks @ 160 Kbps: File size = 65.4 Mb]

Listen to The Morrigan "Spirit of the Soup" album


1 Slingshot Round The Moon 4:50
2 Cobalt Coast 5:13
3 The Eighth Room 6:36
4 Freak Weather 13:42
5 Cape Canaveral 3:28
6 The Battle Of Morton Ridge 2:14
7 Spirit 11:22
8 Drift Grass 9:53

All tracks composed by D. Lodder, except Tracks 3 & 7 by J. Lodder, & Track 4 by D. Lodder, J. Lodder, & Arch


Dave Lodder - Electric & Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards
John Lodder - Fretted & Fretless Bass
Arch - Drums, Percussion


A.O.O.F.C said...



Try and translate the web page to your own language. Type the numerals you see in box to get D/L. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the new link for Blue Drift. You are awesome!


A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Karl. No probs & thanks...Paul

A.O.O.F.C said...